Author Topic: Advice on making a short film?  (Read 989 times)

Advice on making a short film?
« on: 07 Aug 2015, 08:14 »
I think I am very prepared, but just in case, I thought let's get some pointers from creative minds!

Me and a mate (plus someone who will be cameraman) are going to do a short film. It is purely for fun, and seeing what we are capable of. I have written a script, and I have been growing a beard for the past 2 weeks for my character, much to my girlfriend's displeasure! I have bought some props and even a costume! We have two cameras (though one is just back up) and a shotgun mic. Also an umbrella incase it rains to shield the camera, although I hope it doesn't rain, that will make continuity hard!

Anything glaringly obvious I haven't thought of? Anything when actually shooting is a good idea to do? For example I've realised I personally stop acting the second I think the scene is done, only to when it comes to the editing I could have done with some extra seconds to spare in that scene! Doh!

We're also gonna go the whole hog and burn a copy each to dvd for ourselves, complete with cover, and dvd extras on the disc! There's likely to be outtakes after all!

Here's two quick movie posters that were made in a matter of minutes. I did the lightning one, my mate did the castle/grass one.

Re: Advice on making a short film?
« Reply #1 on: 07 Aug 2015, 08:19 »
Storyboard. Helps get the visual language in place before shooting and might speed things up alot as well as help on continuity.

Re: Advice on making a short film?
« Reply #2 on: 07 Aug 2015, 08:24 »
ooh I like it, even if I use stickmen! Thanks!

Re: Advice on making a short film?
« Reply #3 on: 10 Aug 2015, 19:05 »
Well, you're growing a beard so you've clearly got the most important bit under control :) It looks cool Matt!

Do as much pre-production as you possibly can. You'll want to organize roundtable script readings with friends/crew (reading the lines aloud is very important), rewrite the script a couple of times, re-draft the better script, rehearse lines with the actors, storyboard camera angles (remember the 180 rule!), think about shot duration and write a shot list, write a kit list, familiarise yourself with the kit, make sure your crew are fully briefed and understand your vision for the film, do a location recce, do some sound tests on location, consider what time of day your scenes will take place, be aware of any potential continuity errors that could occur (location/set/wardrobe), understand any technical errors that could crop up (memory card space, batteries etc), consider any potential health and safety hazzards and make sure you're friendly with the crew - making a film is a lot of work!

Are the two cameras identical? There is a lot of variety in picture style between different camera sensors, besides the obvious HD/UHD/SD differences, this will make editing the footage together a lot harder. I guess you are going to be using consumer style camcorders that have a built in zoom lens and mic input? Do a test to see if they edit well together.

Do you have extra batteries for one of the cameras? Having spare batteries is a lot cheaper than hiring/buying two cameras and could stop the need for trying to source two of the same camera, as mentioned above.

It's good to hear you're using an external mic, have you tested the compatibility with your camera, or will you be using an external recorder? It's often easier to plug the mic into an external recorder such as the ZoomH4 which has headphone output and a monitor lcd with level bars, you also get to use a film slate to sync the audio ;-D Does the mic have a wind sock/deadcat (fluffy cover), this will be pretty important when shooting outside.

I've mentioned 'crew' a few times, this doesn't have to be an army but having two or three extra people to help out will really help you make the most of the time you have filming, that shotgun mic won't be much use if it's always tethered to the camera. Most filmmakers would advice against acting in your own film, but who am I to stop a star in the making :)

Feel free to dismiss any of this advice, I don't want to ruin the fun! It depends on how serious you want to take this, most of the points don't cost a penny and can significantly add to the quality of your film, things like storyboarding and script readings are super helpful. It's also very easy to overlook audio, which is one of the most important aspects of film making.

I've watched a few of your videos on youtube and they're good fun, so I think having fun making this film is the most important aspect 8-)

Re: Advice on making a short film?
« Reply #4 on: 12 Aug 2015, 16:52 »
Thanks! I'll shall keep some of these things in mind should I do another film - I filmed it on sunday..

We did take a spare battery, and we did indeed need it! My friend said his camera is a lot better than mine, so we used his. It was a better camera, but it was an actual camera, whereas mine is a camcorder! We often looked like we'd greenscreened ourselves into the picture, how strange!

Yeah sound wasn't considered much, and the film has suffered as a result. My friend didn't actually have the shotgun mic either. He ordered it off the net, and it didn't arrive in time! It was very windy, and so some scenes it's almost impossible to make out what we are saying!

Re: Advice on making a short film?
« Reply #5 on: 12 Aug 2015, 18:17 »
You live and learn Matt :) Good luck with the next film and do show us this one once it's edited!

You might be able to redub the audio using a computer mic, this can be a bit tricky to get sounding right though.

Re: Advice on making a short film?
« Reply #6 on: 12 Aug 2015, 20:18 »
Indeed we did! Although it now sounds like a dodgy dubbed martial arts film. So two clips were just removed, and 1 vital scene is dubbed. But hey this film is probably hilariously bad. So cheesy it is, I even scored the soundtrack with early 80's synths for added effect.

I'll be sure to put the link when it's on youtube!